Home > Explore Data & Reports > Benthic habitat mapping and assessment in the Wilmington-East Wind Energy Call Area: final report

Citation:

Taylor, J.C., A.B. Paxton, C.M. Voss, B. Sumners, C.A. Buckel, J. Vander Pluym, E.B. Ebert, T.S. Viehman, S.R. Fegley, E.A. Pickering, A.M. Adler, C. Freeman, and C.H. Peterson. 2016. Benthic habitat mapping and assessment in the Wilmington-East Wind Energy Call Area: final report. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 196 and OCS Study BOEM 2016-003. Sterling, VA. 171 pp. https://doi.org/10.7289/V5VM499B

Data/Report Type:

NOAA Technical Memorandum

Description

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is responsible for oversight and management of the development of energy resources on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). In 2012, BOEM identified three Wind Energy Call Areas and later defined Wind Energy Areas on the OCS of North Carolina. Presently, sufficient uncertainty exists regarding cumulative impacts to ecosystem services such as essential fish habitat and maritime cultural resources as a result of the construction or operation of offshore energy facilities to merit preliminary studies. From rocky outcrops to shipwrecks, hardbottom habitats serve as essential fish habitat for reef fisheries off of North Carolina and along the southeast OCS. This project accomplished the primary objective of describing and delineating rocky outcrops, within the Wilmington-East Call Area. The delineation of rocky outcrops and artificial hardbottom habitats guided an intensive diver visual assessment characterizing the benthic and fish communities, the seasonal changes in communities, and influences of sand and sediment movement around hardbottom habitats. This report is the result of a collaborative effort between the University of North Carolina Institute of Marine Sciences and NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

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